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What You Need To Know if You’ve Been Exposed to Herpes

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Herpes, also known as herpes simplex virus (HSV), is a viral infection that can cause a number of skin lesions. The lesions can be painful and can sometimes lead to scarring. Herpes is a highly contagious virus and can be spread through skin-to-skin contact, as well as through contact with saliva, semen, or vaginal fluids. If you have been exposed to herpes, there are a few things you should know.

What is Herpes?

Herpes is a virus that causes sores on the genitals and mouth. It is spread through sexual contact and skin-to-skin contact.

There are two types of herpes:

HSV-1: This is the most common type of herpes. It causes sores on the mouth and face. It is usually spread through kissing.

HSV-2: This is the most common type of herpes. It causes sores on the genitals and anus. It is usually spread through sexual contact.

Herpes is very common, but that does not mean it is not serious. It can cause sores on the genitals and mouth that can be painful and difficult to heal. It can also make it difficult to have children. Herpes can be treated with antiviral medications, but there is no cure.

How is Herpes Transmitted?

Herpes is transmitted through sexual contact and skin-to-skin contact. This means that it can be spread through kissing, oral sex, anal sex, and vaginal sex. It can also be spread through skin-to-skin contact with an infected area, such as the mouth, genitals, or anus. Herpes can also be spread through contact with infected saliva, semen, or vaginal fluid.

Most people get herpes through sexual contact with someone who is infected. However, it can also be spread from an infected mother to her baby during childbirth, or from an infected person to their partner through skin-to-skin contact with a broken lesion.

Herpes Exposure? Find Out When You May Show Symptoms

How long after exposure to herpes do symptoms appear? Most people who are infected with herpes do not show any symptoms. However, people who are infected can still spread the virus to others. If you have been exposed to herpes, you may show symptoms within 2-20 days. However, most people show symptoms within 5-7 days.

Other symptoms of herpes exposure may include:

– Fever

– Headache

– Swollen lymph nodes

– Rash

– Muscle aches

– Tiredness

What Does Herpes Look Like?

HSV-1 and HSV-2 can look different depending on where they are located on the body. HSV-1 is most commonly found on the mouth and face, while HSV-2 is most commonly found on the genitals and anus. However, both viruses can infect any area of the body.

HSV-1 can cause sores on the:

– Mouth

– Lips

– Face

– Throat


HSV-2 can cause sores on the:

– Genitals

– Anus

– Buttocks

– Inner thighs


However, both viruses can cause sores in any area of the body. These sores are typically red, swollen, and painful. They may also have a discharge or be covered in ulcers.

How To Know if You Have Herpes

There's not always a definitive answer, but some general signs that might point to herpes include:

1. Crusted lesions or sores on the genitals, anus, mouth or elsewhere (especially around Valentine's Day). These can often blister and weep pus. If you have oral herpes, these regions may also be covered in white, fluid-containing sores.


2. Recurrent cold sores on the lips (or any other parts of your face). This is often a sign that herpes is causing cold sore outbreaks.


3. Some people with herpes may have a more general feeling of being unwell, especially if they also have symptoms such as fever, body aches, and diarrhea.


4. Testing for herpes is usually a simple measure that can be done at your doctor's office or clinic. There are several different types of tests, but all will indicate if you have the virus and may help to guide treatment options.


If you have symptoms and tests reveal that you do in fact have herpes, it's important to take action to avoid spreading the virus. This may include raising awareness of your condition with key people in your life (e.g., long-term partners), getting regular checkups, and wearing a condom when having sex.

Herpes is a common condition that can be uncomfortable and frustrating, but with proper treatment it's usually not serious. If you're concerned about your sexual health or suspect you may have herpes, it's important to talk to your doctor.

Though many feel nervous about discussing such personal matters, doctors are skilled and experienced in evaluating and addressing these concerns. They also can provide important information and resources to help ease your mind and guide you through treatment.

What To Do if You Have Herpes

If you do have herpes, taking the steps below can help protect others and keep your lesions from spreading:


1. Always use a condom when having sex. While this isn't a flawless solution, it can help to reduce your risk of spreading herpes.


2. Get regular checkups with your doctor to make sure you're not on the path towards developing more serious conditions, such as cancer or pneumonia. This is particularly important if you have ongoing symptoms (which may indicate an active infection).


3. Inform your partner or long-term partners about your condition. It can be difficult to deal with herpes on our own, but it's much harder if no one knows! Discussing potential risks and how you're managing them is a critical part of the equation.


4. Raise awareness of herpes among friends, family, and other loved ones. Educating others about the virus can help reduce stigma and allow people to ask questions if they're curious or worried about getting herpes themselves.


Though herpes can be a tough condition to manage, by following these steps you can increase your chances of fighting the virus successfully and limit its impact on your overall health.

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This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.

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